Sunday, June 06, 2010

Compelling documentary about Freddy's debuts this week at the Brooklyn International Film Festival

Less than six weeks after Freddy's Bar & Backroom closed in the wake of eminent domain for Atlantic Yards, an intimate documentary (titled Freddy's) about the noted Prospect Heights watering hole will debut this week at the Brooklyn International Film Festival.

The film will be screened (tickets) on Wednesday June 9 at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema (7 pm) and on Friday June 11 at indieScreen in Williamsburg (6pm). The director is Vicente Rodriguez Ortega.

Having seen the film, I highly recommend it--it hits deeper than the whimsical trailer below, with lots of (engaging) talking heads, music, and some intriguing filmic composition. And I learned a bunch.

I have some questions and quibbles, of course, but I'll save them until after the first screening, where manager Donald O'Finn and other Freddy's staffers will be present for the Q&A.

The trailer



The official synopsis:
Freddy's Bar & Backroom was a thriving cultural hub situated in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Open since prohibition, the bar featured a unique and colorful history. This documentary chronicles the diverse set of characters in Freddy's community - the bartenders, the regulars, the artists and the musicians. Through their barside reflections, both hilarious and poignant, we see the true importance of this Brooklyn institution. Beyond the late nights and naked Mondays, Freddy's was a vital part of the neighborhood. Unfortunately, it also sat in the footprint of a controversial real estate deal that has threatened to radically transform Brooklyn's character.
The song in the trailer

In case you're wondering, the anti-folk song in the trailer is Bumbling Along, by Steve Espinola.

It's clear why it was chosen--it serves as a bridge between the artsy bohemianism of Freddy's and the development project that ended Freddy's.

Near the end of the song, the music pauses, and Espinola unleashes a rapid-fire rant: "The ones who are trying to destroy my multicultural neighborhood so they could build a basketball stadium and skycrapers. They are efficient, they are organized and sometimes murderously effective, but they are ethically short-circuited and spiritually adrift."

Then the whimsical music picks up, with the segue, "But they don't know what's going on, even they are bumbling along."

As noted, the documentary, though often lighthearted, doesn't stick at that level of whimsy.

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